The Intercultural city aims at building its policies and identity on the explicit acknowledgement that diversity can be a resource for the development of the society.

The first step is the adoption (and implementation) of strategies that facilitate positive intercultural encounters and exchanges, and promote equal and active participation of residents and communities in the development of the city, thus responding to the needs of a diverse population. The Intercultural integration policy model is based on extensive research evidence, on a range of international legal instruments, and on the collective input of the cities member of the Intercultural Cities programme that share their good practice examples on how to better manage diversity, address possible conflicts, and benefit from the diversity advantage.

This section offers examples of intercultural approaches that facilitate the development and implementation of intercultural strategies.

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Participation and interaction through renovation of public spaces: the example of Tabakalera

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Tabakalera is a former tobacco factory that was converted into a contemporary culture centre. Located in the Egia district, the building is an impressive space (13,277m2) that organises, since 2007, a wide sort of activities (exhibitions, short film screenings, etc.). Tabakalera programmes are mostly free and the funding is mostly public (30% comes from the municipality).

By the time of opening this public space, it became clear that people were looking forward to use and engage the open spaces envisaged in the building: especially young people in rainy days. The center has been adapting its activities and spaces to these non-planned use from families, youth, etc.

At some point, the centre identified a group of mainly youth male migrants who were used to spend long time at the centre, not always behaving correctly (security concerns, drugs, etc.). After discussing with them about their needs and aims, Tabakalera decided to open a programme to support them through cultural activities. A first project involved photography, and the initiative was really welcomed. Since then, the project has grown to the point of holding weekly meetings (every Friday with a mediator), during which the group has been, for example, creating music together or preparing artistic performances. The 2018 project has been a theatre play, and a group of around 25 people are participating, using the Theatre of the Oppressed as a working methodology.

Most of these young people are unaccompanied migrants, and live in precarious situation: Tabakalera has become a place in which they feel welcome and can explore different ways to express themselves.


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